Absolute Phrase
Abstract Noun
Adjective Complement
An adjective complement is a phrase, usually a prepositiional phrase, or a clause, usually a noun clause, that modifies an adjective or provides information to complete the meaning of an adjective phrase. If the complement consists of only one word, it is very likely to be an adjective.



Prepositional phrase as adjective complement

  • She was worried about her sick dog.
  • His girlfriend was quite annoyed by his remarks.

Noun clause as adjective complement

  • Her parents are very happy she is finally married.
  • Both sides are hopeful that a peaceful solution will be fround.

Infinitive phrase as adjective complement

  • She was only too glad to escape from the conversation.
  • The residents are getting ready to protest.



Adjective Object Complement
An object complement can be an adjective. It follows and modifies the direct object which is a noun or pronoun. Some of the common transitive verbs used for an object complement include call, consider, make, paint.   An adjective object complement can be a single word or a phrase.



  • The boxer knocked his opponent unconscious
  • Her ex-boyfriend makes her angry every time she sees him with his new girlfriend.
    (The adjectives unconscious and angry are complements that follow and modify the noun object opponent and pronoun object her.) 
  • She considers the price of the pair of high-heel shoes too high
  • The puppy licked the bowl spotlessly clean.
    (The adjective phrases too high and spotlessly clean are complements to the objects price and bowl, which they modify.)  
Adjective Phrase
An adjective phrase (or adjectival phrase) is a group of words, whose head word is an adjective. It modifies or describes a noun or pronoun. The adjective phrase can be an attributive adjective coming before a noun or a predicative adjective coming after the noun that it modifies in a sentence. As a predicate adjective, it follows a verb or linking verb after the noun.



  • The hotel restaurant serves really delicious meals. (Attributive adjective phrase)
  • The air was filled with the fresh scent of flowers. (Predicative adjective phrase)
  • Everyone knows she is angry with you. (Predicative adjective phrase modifies pronoun.)

An adjective phrase may be preceded by a determiner or a modifier.

  • Everyone knows she is very angry with you. (Adjective phrase modified by very.)


Adjective Prepositional Phrase
Adjective prepositional phrases are prepositional phrases. They function as adjectives that modify nouns and pronouns. Adjective prepositional phrases always follow immediately those nouns and pronouns that they modify.


  • Those small birds in the cage are owlets. 
    (The adjective prepositional phrase in the cage modifies the noun birds.) 
  • That is my uncle, the town’s police chief with a guilty look on his face.
    (The adjective prepositional phrase is in bold, modifying the noun police chief.) 
  • There were many questions that the reporters want him to answer.
    (The adjective prepositional phrase is in bold, modifying the pronoun him.)  

Adverb Prepositional Phrase

Adverb prepositional phrases are prepositional phrases. They function as adverbs that modify verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Adverb prepositional phrases typically come the verbs, adjectives, and adverbs that they modify.


Modifying verb:

  • The burglar hid under the bed when the police arrived.
    (The prepositional phrase under the bed modifies the verb hid.)
  • She often walked her dog along the beach.   
  • Some of the coins roll underneath his car

Modifying adjective:

  • You look pale after that big argument.
    (The prepositional phrase after that big argument modifies the adjective pale.)
  • Tom was all excited about his prize, a new car.
    (The prepositional phrase about his prize modifies the adjective excited. A new car is an appositive phrase.)
  • My mum was absolutely mad with me for breaking her antique clock into pieces. 

Modifying adverb:

  • We will gather here in the evening for stargazing.
    (The prepositional phrase in the evening modifies the adverb here.)
  • He drove slowly on those narrow muddy country roads 
  • It seemed over there a shadowy figure appeared and disappeared often out of the darkness.  
An adverbial is a part of a sentence. it can be a word that acts as an adverb, or more than one word that functions as an adverb prepositional phrase or adverb clause. An adverbial adds information to the verb or to complete it. 



  • We ran all the way home. (Adverb)
  • The tourists walked everywhere they went. (Adverbial clause)
  • He locked his victim in the basement (Adverbial prepositional phrase)



Adverbial is essential to complete the meaning of a verb.

  • He quarreled.
    (Incomplete sentence: the verb needs to complete its meaning.) 
  • He quarreled with his boss
    (Adding an adverbial [in bold] completes the meaning of the verb as well as the sentence.) 



Adverbials can be expressed to tell us when (time), where (place), why (reason), or how (manner) something happens.

Adverbial of time tells when something happens.

  • The father won millions of pounds in the national lottery in May.
  • He wants to get married as soon as he is old enough

Adverbial of place tells where something happens.

  • I found your missing glasses here.
  • The old dog was knocked down by a car in the middle of the street

Adverbial of reason tells why something happens.

  • The twin brothers fought over the priest’s daughter.
  • She screamed because she thought she saw her late grandmother

Adverbial of manner tells how something happens or how something is done.

  • The car skidded off the icy road and into the gully.
  • The fox moved silently through the bushes and pounced on a duckling. 



Although adverbials modify verbs, they can take the form of noun phrases (in bold).

  • We took the last train
  • Every weekend, we visit our grandparents 



Adverbial functions as an adverb but it can also act as an adjective.

  • It rained heavily yesterday evening.
  • The practice session begins tomorrow afternoon.
    (Both words yesterday and tomorrow are adverbs, but in the sentences they take the role of adjective.)  


Adverbial Phrase
An adverbial phrase usually consists of two or more words: an adverb being the head word in an adverbial phrase plus other words, although it can consist of only one adverb. The adverbial phrase functions as an adverb in a sentence, and is often a prepositional phrase that modifies a verb, adjective, or adverb.  



  • He ate his ice cream in a disused phone booth.
    (The adverbial phrase in a disused phone booth modifies the verb ate.)
  • She seems happy with her puppies.
    (The adverbial phrase with her puppies modifies the adjective happy.)
  • Bob hates to wake up early on Monday morning.
    (The adverbial phrase on Monday morning modifies the adverb early.)



An appositive is a noun or noun phrase that is placed next, usually after, another noun to rename or identify it. 
Complete sentence without appositive: Their history professor is quite absent-minded.
Complete sentence with appositive: Their history professor, Frances, is quite absent-minded.
(By adding the appositive Frances, it renames the professor which can be of help as there may be more than one history professor at the particular place.)
Complete sentence without appositive: Edward Ward is being sought by the police to assist in the investigation.
Complete sentence with appositive: Edward Ward, a completely bald man in early middle age, is being sought by the police to assist in the investigation.
(The appositive in the last example – in bold – identifies the noun Edward Ward by providing more information about him.)
More examples with appositives in bold


  • His pet fish, a goldfish, is a gift from his girlfriend.
  • Alice, Tom’s only sister, has graduated with a degree in taxidermy.
  • A big fat woman with double chins, Ava is trying hard to cut out the foods that are making her fat.
  • We have been going to the nightclub to listen to Anthony, a folk singer confined to a wheelchair.
Appositive Phrase

An appositive phrase is a noun or pronoun with a modifier. It is placed immediately before or immediately after a noun or pronoun that it renames or identifies.


  • Bobby, his twin brother, died on the same day as he.
    (The appositive phrase his twin brother follows the noun Bobby that it identifies.)
  • A head chef in a London hotel, George is the only son in a family of five daughters.
    (The appositive phrase a head chef in a London hotel precedes the noun George that it modifies.)



In identifying a noun in a sentence, an appositive phrase is providing more information about the noun. The information may or may not be essential to the meaning of the sentence. When the information is essential, no commas are used to set off the appositive phrase. If the information is nonessential, commas are used before and after the appositive phrase, as the sentence is complete and clear without it.



  • The famous singer Carole King is an American composer and singer-songwriter.
    (No commas are use to enclose the appositive Carole King as the information is essential. Without the appositive Carole King, there would be no idea which famous singer is being referred to: The famous singer is an American composer and singer-songwriter.)
  • Carole King, the famous singer, is an American composer and singer-songwriter. 
    (Commas are used to enclose the appositive Carole King as the information is not essential. Without the appositive phrase the famous singer, the sentence is clear as to who the subject Carole King is: an American composer and singer-songwriter.)




Aspect of Verb 
All verbs have both tense and aspect. Each tense is subdivided into aspects. The different combinations of tenses and aspects make possible aspects such as continuous (progressive), perfect, and perfect continuous. These aspects tell us whether the actions are continuous, completed, or both continuous and completed.
Since verbs have three tenses (presentpastfuture) and four aspects, their combinations make possible twelve different forms as follow:
Simple aspect: simple present, Simple past,
Simple future Continuous aspect: present continuous, past continuous, future continuous
Perfect aspect: present perfect, past perfect, future perfect

Perfect continuous aspect: present perfect continuous, past perfect continuous, future perfect continuous  


Auxiliary Verb
An auxiliary verb is a verb that is used with a main verb to form a verb phrase. The auxiliary verb be is used in continuous forms and to form passive verb phrases. The auxiliary verb have is used in perfect tenses. The auxiliary verb do is used mostly in questions and negative clauses. Do is also used to show emphasis.  
Base Form of Verb
Verbs have five basic forms: the base form (jump), the -s form (jumps), the -ing form (jumping), the past -ed form (jumped), and the past participle form (jumped). The base form of a verb is the form found in the dictionary with none of the endings known as inflections added.
Infinitive used the same word as the base form of the verb except that it comes after the word to: to buy, to read, to walk. The following show the use of the base form (in bold).


The following show the use of the base form (in bold).

When the future tense (underlined) is used.

  • We will meet at the end of the tunnel.
  • There shall be no snoring during the lecture.

When an imperative sentence is used.

  • All rise I say!
  • Put every one of them there, not here! 

When an anxiliary verb (underlined) is used to ask a question?

  • Don’t you remember me?
  • How did you get that ugly scar on your forehead?

When a negative statement is used.

  • The family does not drink goat milk.
  • They didn’t win the first ten matches.

When the verb follows a direct object (underlined).

  • They made her walk like a penguin for losing the bet.
  • We heard John whisper the two girls’ names in his sleep. 

When a subjunctive sentence is used.

  • His pet dog has given birth, and he suggests that each of use adopt a puppy.
  • It is essential that she be told the truth about what happened to her car.





Be is an auxiliary verb as well as a main verb. The present tense forms of be are am, is, and are, and the past tense forms are was and were.  As an auxiliary verb, be is used in continuous tenses and passive statements. As a main verb, be may be followed by a complement which is either an adjective or a noun phrase.